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Freedom and Autonomy Conference 24th – 25th May 2018 Birkbeck College, University of London

The conference, the second in an annual series, aims to bring together a wide range of researchers working on autonomy and freedom as topics in moral, social and political philosophy.


Keynote: John Christman (Penn State University)

Organisers: Michael Garnett (Birkbeck College) & Chris Mills (University of Warwick)

Deadline for abstracts: 1st March 2018



Autonomy and freedom are core moral and political values, and debates concerning their nature and application continue to have wide-ranging implications for normative philosophy.

This conference, the second in an annual series, aims to bring together a wide range of researchers working on autonomy and freedom as topics in moral, social and political philosophy. We invite submissions on any of the following themes:

  • The nature, value and measurement of freedom;
  • The relationship between moral, personal and political autonomy;
  • Freedom and autonomy in the social contract tradition;
  • The role of freedom and autonomy in the justification of rights;
  • The epistemic conditions of autonomy;
  • Coercion, force and voluntariness;
  • The role of the emotions in accounts of freedom and autonomy;
  • Freedom and capabilities;
  • The limits of freedom and autonomy (e.g. in contexts of punishment, education, health, etc.);
  • Threats to freedom and autonomy (e.g. coercion, paternalism, deception, manipulation, nudges, etc.);
  • Critiques of specific accounts of freedom (e.g. positive, negative, republican) and autonomy (e.g. procedural, substantive, relational, hierarchical, perfectionist);
  • Critiques of contemporary authors (e.g. Carter, Christman, Dworkin, Frankfurt, Friedman, Kramer, Korsgaard, Mele, Meyers, O’Neill, Oshana, Pettit, Raz);
  • Connections between freedom and autonomy and other related concepts, such as equality, identity, responsibility, toleration, well-being, volition, agency, selfhood, independence, self-determination, and so on.


How To Apply

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this conference, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words to by 1st March. Abstracts must be prepared for anonymous review (though please include your name and institutional affiliation in your email). (Note: those who submitted to the 2017 conference are welcome to submit again to this one.)

Selection will be by a two-stage process. In Stage 1, abstracts will be reviewed anonymously, and a shortlist assembled on grounds of quality and fit with the conference theme. In Stage 2, a final selection will be made with the aim of ensuring reasonable diversity with respect to gender, nature and place of home institution, and career stage.

Talks will be around 40 minutes, with a similar amount of time set aside for Q&A. Buildings will be wheelchair accessible, and special dietary needs will be accommodated. If you have questions about any aspect of the conference, please contact the organisers: Michael Garnett ( or Chris Mills (

This conference is generously funded by the Mind Association and the Birkbeck Philosophy Department.


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